Cochran votes to enhance cybersecurity protection

Cochran votes to enhance cybersecurity protection

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDAM) - This is a news release from U.S. Senator Thad Cochran's office

– U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today voted for legislation to improve American cybersecurity protections for individual personal information, American businesses and vital government functions.

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (S.754 or CISA) would promote information sharing about cyber threats among public and private entities so that they can better coordinate responses to cyberattacks.  The legislation passed with a bipartisan 74 to 21 vote.

“Cyber threats are a serious and growing risk to our individual privacy, national security and economic vitality,” said Cochran, chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.  “This bill would allow for greater cybersecurity cooperation between the public and private sector.  Shared knowledge and strategic planning can help ensure the security of highly sensitive material, whether it’s military documents or personal credit card information.”

“I am pleased this bill includes provisions to protect privacy while still creating a framework to better protect businesses and government entities,” he said.

CISA would enhance American cybersecurity by providing an exemption to antitrust laws and authorizing liability protections for covered entities that voluntarily share information for cybersecurity purposes.  The bill would also enable private entities to take narrowly tailored “defensive measures” to prevent, detect, analyze and mitigate cybersecurity threats.

The legislation, sponsored by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.), also includes measures to safeguard civil liberties and individual privacy.  While no private companies would be compelled to provide information to the government or any other company, the Senate bill would require companies to remove all personal identifiers not related directly to a cybersecurity threat before sharing information with a federal entity.

            A companion bill in the House, H.R. 1560, the Protecting Cyber Networks Act, passed in April with a bipartisan vote of 307-116.
Between 2011 and 2012, there was a 38 percent increase in incidents of loss, theft, and exposure of personally-identifiable information.  There were more than 67,000 cyber incidents against federal agencies last year, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies reported in 2013 that cybercrime costs the United States an estimated $100 billion per year.